Top Ron Paul Campaign Aides Found Guilty On All Counts

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 11.34.08 PM
Photo by Dave Davidson –

As Donald Trump was putting an end to the primary phase of the 2016 Republican presidential campaign this week, a federal court concluded its criminal trial against three Republican campaign operatives for their underhanded and shady dealings in the previous presidential contest.

Jurors found Jesse Benton, Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign chairman, John Tate, Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign manager, and Dimitri Kesari, Paul’s deputy campaign manager in 2012, guilty of charges ranging for conspiracy to causing false records and campaign expenditures. The trio of national political operatives who once made up Paul’s inner political circle was tried in federal court in Iowa and is now awaiting sentencing.

The scheme involved paying Kent Sorenson, a former Iowa legislator and chairman of Michelle Bachmann’s 2012 presidential campaign, more than $73,000 to switch his allegiance to Ron Paul just days before the 2012 Iowa caucuses.   As a State Senator, Sorenson would be in violation of Iowa Senate rules if he accepted financial compensation from the Paul campaign, so the high-ranking Paul operatives concocted a scheme that paid Sorenson through vendors who did no work for the Paul campaign.

Sorenson resigned from the Iowa Senate in the fall of 2013. The following August, he pled guilty to one count of causing a federal campaign committee to falsely report expenditures and one count of obstruction of justice for concealing. Sorenson is still awaiting sentencing for his part of the scheme, but his cooperation with federal prosecutors will now likely get him a more lenient sentence. Sorenson faces up to 25 years in prison for his involvement in the cover up.

The entire ordeal spans parts of two presidential campaigns and lasted almost six years. was the first to break the details of Sorenson’s involvement with the three senior members of Ron Paul’s campaign. While Sorenson was already dealing with an Iowa Senate Ethics complaint stemming from his financial compensation from the Bachmann campaign and the theft of a database belonging to an Iowa Homeschool organization, it was his involvement with the Paul campaign that ultimately brought him down.

The scandal has been national news and has even caused problems in the 2016 Republican race for president. Benton and Tate led a Super PAC that was supportive of Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s bid before he dropped out of the race. Benton is also currently involved in a pro-Trump Super PAC. Needless to say, being convicted of multiple crimes will make it impossible to maintain his involvement in any political committee.

While was responsible for shedding light on this scandal, justice would have never been served, and thus the credibility of our political process would not have been preserved, had it not been for Dennis Fusaro, the primary source of all the evidence the entire case was built upon.

Fusaro was Ron Paul’s national field director in 2008. He was also the former Executive Director of Iowans for Right to Work Committee and the National Right to Work Committee. He had worked with all those involved in the cover-up, including Sorenson, from his time working in Iowa politics.

“This is not a happy moment for me or anyone concerned with true Liberty,” Fusaro said after being reached for comment after the guilty verdict. “I tried to get Jesse Benton to come clean on his own and clean it up internally, but instead I was mocked and insulted by him.”

“The cover-up is always worse than the crime,” Fusaro added. “They could have told the truth to the voters of Iowa that Kent Sorenson had been paid or offered payment to endorse Ron Paul. They could have thumbed their noses at the Iowa Senate Ethics Committee and made a First Amendment stand over the right to associate for Kent Sorenson. Instead they chose to take on the federal government.”

Another integral figure in exposing this scheme was former State Senator Sandy Greiner. While Republican leaders in the Iowa Senate wished to quietly sweep Sorenson’s transgressions under the rug, it was Greiner who stood alone against her own party and provided the critical fourth vote on the Senate Ethics Committee to appoint an independent investigator to look into Sorenson’s dealings with both presidential campaigns.

On Facebook on Thursday afternoon, Greiner referred to the situation as, “The darkest days of my entire Legislative career.” Greiner added, “I really felt an investigation by Independent Counsel was the only way to clear the air. I take no joy in the outcome.”

After the Senate Ethics Committee voted in favor of appointing independent counsel who would have subpoena power, the Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court appointed Des Moines attorney Mark E. Weinhardt to investigate. It was his 556-page report that came out in October of 2013, just two months after broke the story, that lead forced Sorenson to resign. Soon after, federal authorities charged those involved with scheme for their involvement.

For many Iowans, this story began and ended with Kent Sorenson.   While the this entire case involved him, Thursday’s guilty verdicts prove that the scandal was much bigger than just a State Senator getting paid under the table for an endorsement. While it may have seemed at times that there was an effort to “get” Sorenson, the truth of the matter is that he was the only way expose the corruption in at the highest levels of a presidential campaign.

Not only has justice been served, but hopefully the integrity of the political process has also been preserved.




Real Time Iowa Caucus Results and Commentary

Join for live coverage as results from the Iowa Caucuses come in. You can watch our live webcast and monitor the result as the come all on this one page. Coverage begins at 6:00 p.m. and will conclude when the results are final. It’s going to be a long but fun night. Join us!

Watch live streaming video from desmoineslocallive at

Bachmann Defends Home Turf – Will Join Perry in Waterloo on Sunday

Michele Bachmann has made her Iowa roots a central point of her presidential campaign.  As such, she hosted a welcome home event for residents of Waterloo, the town of her birth, at the Electric Park Ballroom the night before she formally announced her candidacy.

Now, another presidential candidate, Texas Governor Rick Perry, is scheduled to use the same venue to kick off his Iowa campaign efforts on Sunday, the day after the Ames Straw Poll.  The event that Perry decided to attend is actually a Blackhawk County GOP event.  Invitations were sent to all the candidates, and sources tell that Bachmann will also attend and speak after Perry at Sunday’s event.

Perry’s move to announce on the day of the straw poll in another state ruffled some feathers in Iowa.  His decision to stomp on the media coverage from Ames by showing up in Iowa the next day was also seen as an arrogant or insensitive move by some, but it was also risky since it’s not a Perry event.

Perry will now have to share the stage and spotlight with Bachmann on Sunday. also knows of at least one other campaign that is contemplating going to Waterloo on Sunday.  The Perry campaign was obviously trying to have it both ways.  They didn’t want to participate in the actual straw poll or tonight’s Fox News debate, but they wanted to insert themselves in the massive amounts of media coverage the two events generate.  Now Perry is going to be welcomed to Iowa not only by the media, but a candidate that might be his main competition in Iowa.

Bachmann likes to remind people on the campaign trail that she has a titanium spine, this move actually proves it.  Game On.


Event: Black Hawk County GOP Lincoln Day Dinner
Electric Park Ballroom at the National Cattle Congress
310 West Conger Street
Waterloo, Iowa

Time: Doors open at 4:30 pm CT
Bachmann addresses crowd at 6:45 pm CT


Photo by Dave Davidson –

Enhanced by Zemanta

Perry and Palin Should Be On Straw Poll Ballot

One would probably have better luck predicting all six Powerball numbers than accurately forecasting what the Republican Party of Iowa’s State Central Committee will do at its next meeting.  The Iowa GOP will meet on Saturday, and their main agenda items are electing a new co-chair and setting the ballot for next month’s Straw Poll.  Both votes could be long, drawn out affairs, or both could be settled quickly with little debate.  What will happen is anyone’s guess.

The question about who should be listed on the Straw Poll ballot is not as easy as one might think.  With big name politicians like Sarah Palin and Rick Perry performing well in national polls but not yet making any formal steps to actually run, the Republican Party of Iowa has to make a judgment call on whether or not to include them.

Its decision is made more difficult with the sensitive nature of some of the campaigns.  Yesterday, Herman Cain’s campaign indicated that they would be upset if candidates who did not purchase lots in Ames from the Republican Party were allowed on the ballot.  Other campaigns don’t have a problem with Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman being on the ballot, but they don’t want Palin or Perry on there.

Having been the one who organized the 2007 Iowa Straw Poll, I believe that the Republican Party of Iowa would make a huge mistake if they gave into pressures from any campaign in regards to the ballot.  If I was in the same position I was in four years ago, not only would demand that the candidates who are skipping the event be on the ballot (Romney, Newt Gingrich and Huntsman), but I would also include Palin and Perry.

Including Romney, Huntsman and Gingrich are no brainers.  Each are officially announced presidential candidates.  Just because they have chosen not to participate in the Straw Poll doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be on the ballot.  It is probably that at least one of those candidates will not campaign in Iowa in advance of the caucuses, but that doesn’t mean Iowans shouldn’t be allowed to vote for him.

The situation with Palin and Perry is trickier.  Four years ago, the Iowa GOP had to make a similar decision with Fred Thompson.  Thompson was added to ballot much to his campaign’s chagrin.  He was placed on the straw poll ballot because he was making moves that indicated that he was running for president.  At the time, Thompson had talked to party officials, hired Iowans, and had people organizing for him on the ground.  In many ways, both Palin and Perry meet those same criteria.

The insecurity of the campaigns that oppose including everyone on the ballot is quite telling.  In previous straw polls, including all the candidates on the ballot was seen as a way to bring validity to the straw poll vote.  Excluding candidates because they choose not to participate in the event has the opposite effect.

The candidates and campaigns should also be told that they don’t get to decide who is, or is not included on the ballot.  I would hope that they all realize that there is no ballot in the caucuses themselves.  That means that Sarah Palin, even if she is not an announced candidate, can still receive votes on caucus night if people want to cast a vote for her.

In regards to the Iowa GOP itself, not only do they want the ballot to have as much validity as possible, but they also should want their event to be as inclusive as possible.  Just because Mitt Romney is not going to be there doesn’t mean that his Iowa supporters shouldn’t be able to support their candidate. Why on earth you would want to turn someone away from attending and voting at the event is beyond me.  As we all know, it is a fundraiser.

Perry might not be an official candidate yet, but there is a 527 group that has hired a bunch of people in the state.  Palin has had organizers in the state for a year now, even though they claim that they are unaffiliated with her.  In both cases, there are people working to turn supporters out for their candidate.

The Iowa Straw Poll is like a preseason football game.  The campaigns who have been putting in the hard work and organizing are ready to take the field and hit somebody.  They don’t care who it is.  The more the merrier.  Then there are the campaigns that know they are not ready for full contact yet, so they only want to scrimmage with those who they think they can handle.

If you want an idea about who is going to do well in Ames, look at the campaigns that are not raising objections to Perry and Palin.  Their confidence says a lot.

If it were up to me, the ballot would look like this:

Michele Bachmann

Herman Cain

Newt Gingrich

Jon Huntsman

Thad McCotter

Sarah Palin

Ron Paul

Rick Perry

Tim Pawlenty

Mitt Romney

Rick Santorum

Write In ___________________


Enhanced by Zemanta

Confirmed: Palin to be in Iowa on Tuesday learned this morning that former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin will attend the premier of the new documentary, The Undefeated, which documents her rise in American politics.

The controversial new documentary about will make its debut premier at the 111 year-old Pella Opera House on Tuesday evening at 5 p.m.  The Undefeated was written and directed by Stephen K. Bannon, and is set to be released in ten different markets in mid July.

Palin’s appearance in Iowa, her first since the fall of 2010, will come on the heels of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s official entry into the presidential race.  This isn’t the first time Palin will have stolen some of the media attention from a Republican announcement.  Palin also made an appearance in New Hampshire on the same day that Mitt Romney launched his presidential campaign.
Another interesting dynamic is that Palin will be in Iowa on the same day as President Obama.  Obama is scheduled to tour an Alcoa Plant in Davenport in an effort discuss the critical role that the manufacturing sector plays in the American economy.

Between Bachmann’s announcement, President Obama’s tour, and Palin’s attendance at the movie premier, Iowa will once again be the epicenter of the political world next week.  Get ready Iowans, its going to be a crazy week.

Press Release:


SANTA MONICA, Calif. (June 25, 2011)– Victory Film Group ( and ARC Entertainment announced today that Governor Sarah Palin and her husband Todd will attend the premiere of The Undefeated at the historic Pella Opera House on Tuesday June 28 at 5pm Central Time in Pella, Iowa. Immediately after the showing, Victory Film Group and ARC Entertainment will host a traditional Iowa cookout to thank the Pella Opera House and the people of Pella.

In accepting the invitation to attend the premiere, Sarah Palin stated, “We are very excited to visit historic Pella and its opera house and look forward to seeing the finished film for the first time with fellow Americans from the heartland.”

Responding to the Palin’s announcement that they will attend the Iowa premiere, Larry Peterson, Chairman of the Board of the Pella Opera House said, “We look forward to hosting Governor Palin and her husband, Todd, at our beloved opera house as we welcome them to our community.”

“We are incredibly excited about Governor Palin and her husband Todd’s attendance at a location that speaks to the basic core values of The Undefeated,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the writer and director of the film.

“We are delighted that Governor Palin and her husband Todd have accepted our invitation to join us at the Iowa premiere of what we believe is a truly moving and extraordinary film,” said Trevor Drinkwater, CEO of ARC Entertainment, the film’s worldwide distributor.

The film begins its national rollout exclusively in AMC Theatres in 10 cities the week of July 15th. The film will debut in Dallas, Denver, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Atlanta, Orange County, Phoenix, Houston, Indianapolis, and Kansas City, with plans to take it nationwide in additional markets thereafter.

The Undefeated features leading prominent political commentators Mark Levin, Tammy Bruce and Andrew Breitbart as well as conservative activists Kate Obenshein, Sonnie Johnson and Jamie Radtke. Additionally, the film features interviews with Alaskan civil servants, elected officials and advisors who were involved in Alaskan politics during Governor Palin’s tenure.

The Undefeated, which was written and directed by Stephen K. Bannon and produced by Bannon and Victory Film Group co-founder Glenn Bracken Evans and Dan Fleuette, chronicles Sarah Palin’s rise from obscurity to national prominence.

About Victory Film Group

Victory Film Group develops, produces and distributes documentaries and films that address today’s leading political, socioeconomic and cultural issues while incorporating the conservative perspective.

Photo by Dave Davidson

Enhanced by Zemanta